Te Kuiti man Broc Kawhena has admitted driving drunk and causing the death of 17-year-old Ocean Heke.

It's nearly a year since the bubbly teenager' died on the side of State Highway 3 near Otorohanga.

Kawhena made a brief appearance in the High Court at Hamilton today and pleaded guilty to a charge of being in charge of a transport service vehicle while under the influence of drink causing death on April 3, last year.

Broc Kawhena, 21, leaves the Hamilton District Court after an earlier appearance. Photo/File
Broc Kawhena, 21, leaves the Hamilton District Court after an earlier appearance. Photo/File

He had also faced the more serious charge of manslaughter, but today he admitted the lesser charge. The manslaughter charge will be withdrawn.

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Drink-driving causing death has a maximum 10-year jail term.

Kawhena was remanded on further bail for sentencing on May 25.

Police cordon at the scene on SH3 where 17-year-old Ocean Heke was hit by a car on March 3, last year. Photo/File
Police cordon at the scene on SH3 where 17-year-old Ocean Heke was hit by a car on March 3, last year. Photo/File

Heke was walking home from a party during the early hours of the morning when she was hit by a vehicle being driven by Kawhena.

Her body was eventually found several hours later lying in a grass verge on State Highway 3.